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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 11, 2017 (PM)

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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
This afternoon a meeting was held of the Headquarters for Promotion of Measures Against Transnational Organized Crime and Other Relative Issues and International Terrorism. The meeting decided on the guidelines on counter-terrorism promotion towards the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games based on the current severity of the international terrorism situation. Based on the guidelines that was decided today, the Government will promote the sharing and analysis of information by the relevant ministries and agencies by strengthening the activities of the Counter Terrorism Unit - Japan (CTU-J) and newly establishing a center for sharing global terrorism and relevant information, the measures aimed at further enabling the collection of core information by breaking down government departmental silos and cutting across ministry and agency barriers. In addition, we will continue to strongly promote counter-terrorism measures towards the success of the upcoming events, by making every effort to ensure the safety of soft targets such as public transportation infrastructure and event venues, which many visitors are expected to utilize.


REPORTER: With regard to the counter-terrorism measures you have just announced, could you tell us once again about the significance of including in the new guidelines, the establishment of the new cross-governmental organization and the strengthening of counter-measures for soft targets?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Looking at the recent situation surrounding international terrorism it is evident that we face an extremely dangerous situation, given cases in the United States and Europe of terrorism perpetrated by homegrown terrorists, who have been influenced by the extremist ideas of terrorist groups, and multiple terrorist attacks on soft targets using vehicles. In particular, given that Japan is scheduled to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is essential to take all possible measures in close collaboration with the international community. At today’s meeting, the Government’s counter-terrorism measures that were compiled at the end of December 2015 following the series of terrorist attacks in Paris, were revised and reformulated as the guidelines on counter-terrorism promotion. Based on the guidelines, the Prime Minister’s Office will continue to oversee all counter-terrorism initiatives as the Government makes concerted efforts to promote counter-terrorism measures ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

REPORTER: The Iraqi army announced on December 9 that it has concluded its mopping-up operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across a vast area of the desert along the Syria-Iraq border, and that Iraq’s territory has now been fully liberated from ISIL. Prime Minister Abadi has emphasized that this is a victory not just for Iraq, but for the entire world. In addition, Col. Ryan Dillon, Spokesman of the U.S. Central Command, stated on December 4 that ISIL is no longer a military threat. These announcements would suggest that ISIL has been almost entirely eradicated. What is the view of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is very pleased when we think about how the declaration of victory by the Prime Minister of Iraq marks an important step towards peace and stability in Iraq. In the same declaration Prime Minister Abadi noted that terrorism is a constant enemy and that Iraq will continue to fight terrorism. The efforts to peacefully resolve Iraq’s domestic issues, based on its constitution and constructive dialogues, are important in order to prevent the recurrence of violent extremism in Iraq, and the Government will extend utmost support for these efforts.

REPORTER: Japanese nationals have also been victims of ISIL in the past and the public was greatly shocked at that time. If it is the case that ISIL has been entirely eradicated, does the Government intend to provide an explanation or release a statement to the public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, while the Government of Iraq has declared victory in Iraq, measures are still being implemented all around the world to counter terrorism, including against ISIL. I should not respond about the future based on conjecture. In any event, the Government of Japan will continue to work closely with the international community and make full contributions to the international community, making use of our strengths in non-military areas and fully implementing counter-terrorism efforts.

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